It was pouring when we woke this morning and it continued for most of our drive to Ballarat. We took the scenic route, travelling through picturesque villages and towns steeped in the history of Australia. I love the way the Australians decorate the outside of their homes for Christmas – we certainly saw some interesting decor in the countryside. We stopped to explore the tiniest town I have ever seen. At the 2006 census Linton had a population of 355. It is amazing that people still live there. There were some interesting old buildings but everything was closed – even the Pub which advertised coffee served all day! It was dead! Not surprisingly, the only place open was the Undertaker’s.
Linton was first settled, in about 1840 and was named after a pioneer family in the area. Gold was found there in 1848. Chinese people, among others, mined the local shafts until the gold ran out. There is a monument to one of the Chinese men who was arrested for mining without a license.
Along the way we stopped when I spotted a bird that didn’t look quite like the ibises we’d seen before. It turned out to be a straw-necked ibis and stopping proved fruitful as some other birds were enjoying the puddle too.
The weather cleared up in the afternoon but was still a little cold when we arrived at our B&B in Ballarat. We found a note from our hostess on the door explaining where we were to find our room and key. What a charming place. It is a hundred years old and set in a lovely shady garden. It’s a pity we only have one night here. I googled Ballarat and found the following information.
Ballarat is Victoria’s largest inland city. It started back in 1838 when a squatter called William Yuille camped on the shores of the Black Swamp, now known as Lake Wendouree. “Balla” “Arat” was derived from the meaning resting or camping place.
Gold was discovered at Poverty Point in 1851 by John Dunlop and James Regan who found a few ounces while panning in the Canadian Creek. By the following year there were around 20,000 diggers searching in the shafts of the Ballarat Goldfields. Due to this population explosion, Ballarat was proclaimed a town in 1852. By 1855, Ballarat was a municipality, a borough by 1863 and a city in 1870.
We had a rest and then went out to ‘The Boatshed’ which overlooks the lake for dinner. We drove around the town too and have made plans of where to go tomorrow before we leave for Yarris Valley.
The lake foreshore is a hive of activity – there is a path that goes around the lake and people walk their dogs, jog entertain the kids on the lawns and swings or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the scenery and birdlife.
So today was a bit of a rest day but still very interesting. What an amazing place Australia is – the wide open spaces, the sea, the lakes, .the friendly people and wonderful lifestyle. No wonder so many South Africans migrate here!